Remember when people stopped sending things in the mail and everything suddenly switched to email?
In my life, I sense another transition. Anything important now comes through text, or social media.
In fact, so much so that I feel we’re in another switch, where nothing important is coming through email anymore.
Which is exactly what will make e-mail marketing absolutely essential.
“Essential” is a word that’s thrown around a lot when you’re running a business.
Most likely, if you created a list of the “essential” things you have to do each day to keep your business running, you’d have about 2 hours to sleep, eat, and take care of the rest of your life.
Green businesses arguably have an even longer list of “essential” list items.
But… there is one tool that has more potential to advance your green business with a very high return.
That, of course, is the ever-powerful email.
Social media gurus like to argue that social media is where people today get their news.
And they’d be right.
But email hasn’t exactly gone away, and isn’t likely to anytime soon.
In fact, last year there were 269 billion emails (that’s with a “b”…) sent out every day, and 91% of us check our accounts at least once every day.
How to use email to grow your business
As with almost all things marketing related, it’s all about content.
Every person today who has access to the Internet (so… just about everybody), is skeptical of your marketing message. And every reader out there can tell when they’re being sold to.
Email isn’t a place to tell everyone all about your great cause, or talk up your green services.
Email is a instead a place to build a relationship with your reader.
If you can prove to them that you have worthwhile information to share, then, and only then, will they be interested in giving you their money.
Not every email is created equally
Like all rules, this one can be broken too. Not every single email you send to a prospect or potential donor has to be educational.
But, the informational email will be your workhorse.
This is where you build trust. Here, you provide your reader with good, quality information that will help them (notice I said them, not you…) move towards one of their goals.
The unfortunate truth is that most consumers today feel that companies (even green ones) are only interested in making a profit. But, if you can prove through emails your other company goals (please tell me you have some…), you’ll be showing them that you’re the good guy. You want to make the the planet a better place to live in through capitalism, your charitable works, whatever. In this way, you’ll be sending them the subliminal message that you want to help them make a better life.
It may sound too basic, but providing them with good quality content will give readers this trust in you.
Studies and surveys consistently show that consumers who feel that companies are devoted to offering free (and good) content want a long term relationship with their clients.
You, undoubtedly, want this too.
Break the rules
Besides educational emails, there is one other type of email you’re allowed. But be warned… use it sparingly!
That, of course, is the sales or fundraising email.
These are less of a dance and more straightforward. Hopefully, by the time a new customer/donor receives one of these emails, you’ve already done the legwork to build that relationship (see above).
These emails are short. Less than six paragraphs at the most. They can be laser-focused on getting someone to take action. They should be urgent, and show a direct benefit to your reader (not to you, your company, or your board of directors). If you can slip in some kind of emotional story, do it. Make it personal, and the trust you worked so hard to build will come back to you.
Build your list and get writing
There is another bonus to frequent emails if you act on it.
Link these emails to new content on your website, blogs, newsletters, press releases, and the search engines will reward you for it.
When you are running a business, green or otherwise, it’s a constant balancing act to figure out where the best use of your time and money is spent.
Environmental organizations and startup green business are perpetually short on cash.
It’s up to you to make every dollar count. And email is a great place to do it with a ROI between $45 and $56 for every $1 spent.
With a small risk, and a big potential return… what are you waiting for?